“A Display of His Splendor”
Mixed-media assemblage on hardwood panels (approximately 4′ x 8′).
A commissioned piece for my church inspired by Isaiah 61:1-3
I asked the congregation to donate small items that had some meaning to them, connection to their faith, or that represented them or their lives, family, work, etc. For a month I kept a small bin in the main foyer at church for collection, and each week I brought these items home.
There were many interesting items, and many that didn’t appear to be so interesting, or have much connection to the piece I had in mind. Many items were incomplete, broken, or nearly worn out. But, each week I brought them home anyway, and collected them in another plastic tote.
To look at that tote full of mismatched items, all different colors and materials, none with any seeming bearing or compliment to each other, made me a bit nervous. But, I had an image in mind, a plan set in place with a tiny seed birthed by God’s word.
As the church collected the items from the congregation, I was home working on the panels, preparing the base that would hold all these broken, mismatched pieces.
The work came in bursts and down-right dead stops. Fear buckled my initiative, and I lost my sight twice along the way, undergoing 4 surgeries to restore it.
Oh, how loving and merciful is our Father.
Spring eased in to summer and fall fell in with a burst of color. Relationships started and ended along the way, brothers and sisters passed away and went Home to our Lord. Friendships grew stronger and deeper, including that with my Father who told me:
“The end is good“.
Finally the time came to begin “building” the tree. A friend came and spent hours scrunching and gluing paper balls. Another friend began work on the scripture panel. Many prayed and encouraged and waited patiently with a smile and a hug.
It truly was a community effort.
It was an effort of friendship; a labor of Love.
I took each piece given by Brothers and Sisters and laid them across my table in batches, slowly adding paint with brush and bottle, spraying and daubing, bringing some continuity to all those senseless, random odds and ends, bits and pieces. Many items were left alone, just as they were.
Then the gluing, and gluing, and gluing began, slowly, oh so slowly, with much thought, planning, doing and undoing, and doing again. Then, stop. Pause. Stand back and look, ponder. Start again. For many weeks, piece by piece, something bigger than what I’d started with began to take shape, something vastly different, yet, in essence, the very same.
Finally, it was done. Just that quick. That’s it. Done.
“The end is good.”
This is so similar to how it is with us. We often see ourselves as broken, worn, unusable, unworthy, of little to no consequence in this life, let alone in God’s great, grand plan. We look at ourselves and wonder how God could possibly use us, let alone Love us.
God sees so much more. He sees beyond the broken pieces of right here and now and looks at the boldly beautiful person He loved long before the creation of the earth. All that broke us, that wore us down- the grief, the mourning, the despair… the sin- all this He will not only transform, but use. He will use it for our joy, and for the very clear display of His great and mighty splendor.